The Big Up Festival: Saturday
Words By Brett R. Crossley
Photos By Jon Irvin
When the sun peaked its head over the horizon it splashed the campsites, especially the ones sitting in the middle of the fields, with bright light. Nature’s own lighting system gave us our first glimpse at the campsite we assembled in darkness and I was pleasantly surprised at our ability to erect tents in complete darkness. The light also allowed us to take in some of the amazing scenery around the sites. It was an ongoing theme throughout the weekend, but the crew who worked the festival couldn’t have done a better job.
During the final hours of the show a crew member named Nick Heller informed me about some of the effort the staff put forth to make the weekend as enjoyable as possible. In order to give campers the option to camp in the woods the staff used chainsaws to cut paths and even painted the stumps with neon paint as a safety precaution. Also, the trees were then used to line the paths and some were even made into benches. Once again the staff could not have made the weekend any better!
After getting to see the campsites, and a shower, we made our way over to the venue for our first outdoor show. Another bonus of getting to see everything in the light was being able to take in the sheer size of the festival. Over 3,000 music-crazed patrons crossed the greeters at the gates, and with the sun shining over us, we knew this was going to be a treat. With the staff’s accomplishments lying in front of us, we walked over to watch the first band on the agenda, Dopapod.
The band took the stage around 2 p.m. to kickoff the early afternoon sets. We elected to watch the first part of the concert from the Shangri-la area as our phones and camera equipment hit the charges for some much needed juice. We could hear Dopapod over the mic telling the audience they were going to play a song titled “the Happy song” which seemed appropriate considering the time of day. The song appeared to do exactly what was intended because the dancers and the hoopers at the stage all looked happy to be jamming.
Dopapod displayed some real skill as they followed up the “Happy Song” with a Led Zeppelin medley. The true highlight of the sequence came when Dopapod hit the crowd with a pleaser as they broke into a nice version of “Stairway to Heaven”.
As we were taking in the show from the Shangri-La area a girl approached us with an invitation to watch a documentary about some kind of Asian beetle. We kindly declined the offer, but it was a nice sign of how much entertainment was available. Across from the “Asian beetle screening” was a building offering anyone who wanted to express themselves a chance to paint. After taking in some of the culture provided at the multiple venues, we decided to move to the main stage. With press passes, really stage passes, we moved to the back of the stage. Jon took to his normal picture taking positions as I leaned against a speaker to soak in some of the show.
BuzzUniverse broke into what I would call a nice easy, jazzy feeling tune and quickly broke away from it with a more up-tempo electric sound. The majority of their set was led by the bass player who delivered a nonstop funky rhythm throughout.
After a quick stop back at the campsite we were greeted by some of our neighbors who invited us to hangout with them. We chatted for a bit and then made our way back to the venue to watch The Indo Box. The Indo Box meshed up a great mix of electric-80’s-style-rock which brought in the night with a high energy set. The music and light show also helped to bring out the remaining campers who slept through the day. As the weather continued its perfect run into the evening, Indo Box wrapped up a great hour of music.
The night then shifted into full swing with BuzzUniverse. The band rocked the light show to life with a combination of guitar, vocals, bass, and drums. Also on stage with the group was a saxophone player.
JamAntics drew a nice size crowd in front and seemed to attract even more eyes from the back of the stage as they kicked things up with a country-style jam. The fiddle played a mean solo through the song while the band seemed to transition flawlessly. Along the way there were also some really nice break downs with some great bass holding it together throughout. The band’s electric baselines moved through the audience and created a seen which could only be called a daylight rave. The all improved set jammed on for more than an hour as two girls hopped on each corner of the stage.
With the sun set, and the long-sleeve-breeze rolling in from the mountains, the first band to truly benefit from the incredible light show took to the stage. Higher Organix provided an all improv set featuring a mix of horns, bass, guitar, and drums. The band’s bassist, Brian Ross, really stood out during most of the jams in the set. He seemed to have a funky line for piece of fusion/trance the band came up with and continued to keep a groove throughout the set. The crowd certainly took advantage of Ross’ bass as it melted into a mix of customs and glow sticks in front of the stage.
As Higher Organix rocked the night in from the stage, campers and staff worked to resurrect the giant bonfire which was located a 100 yards from the Big Up Stage. It provided the perfect sanctuary from those in the crowd looking for a break. Despite the growing bonfire, the energy from the stage seemed to grow with every song. Higher Organix blew things up with the last portion of their show and left most of the bonfire crowd returning to the stage.
Pnuma Trio was the next band up for us, and after the Higher Organix set I was anxious to see another band. It was the first time I had got to see the band and I immediately noticed the STS9 influence. The Trio used the combination of a bass, keyboards, and drums to shock the crowd with a groovy sounding, electric mix.
Pnuma Live at The Big Up Festival on August 6, 2010.
The flame dancers then officially made their entrance into the venue which only added to the craziness around the stage. The freakiness of the crowd topped out when glow sticks were added to the equation. Pnuma Trio’s electric sound waved through the audience perfectly in what was the biggest crowd of the night. The set then featured Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli on his sax which set the crowd on fire. It was the perfect way to foreshadow a great set which was on the way.
After Pnuma Trio closed things out for the night on the main stage, the still energetic crowd quickly moved into the Shangri-La stage to take on Big Gigantic’s set. It was no surprise to those in attendance they rocked the stage which was the perfect setup for the band’s electronic style.
Lalli took what he did on the stage with Pnuma Trio and added a whole new dimension to his sound as the smoke machine filled the room with a ghostly mist. The light show was amazing inside of the barn and the neon stars, once again, looked trippy with the light and smoke. Big Gigantic could have easily kept the barn filled for the duration of the weekend, but it was a good thing they stopped, because a long day of baking in the sun and listening to music was once again on top of me.